Tyler Bozak’s apparent slew foot of Noel Acciari in Game 5 ‘was a missed call on the biggest stage of hockey’

The non-call was hardly the only questionable decision of the night.

Noel Acciari is felled by Tyler Bozak immediately before St. Louis takes a 2-0 lead in the third period of Thursday’s Game 5 at TD Garden.

Coach Bruce Cassidy called it “egregious.’’

Forward Noel Acciari called it “embarrassing.’’

The Bruins are the latest team to take issue with the officiating this postseason.

“This is the National Hockey League taking a black eye with their officiating this playoffs,’’ Cassidy said following his team’s 2-1 loss in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final Thursday night. “Here’s another one that’s going to be talked about.’’

An apparent missed call midway through the third period generated St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron’s game-winning goal, putting the Bruins’ title hopes on the brink, trailing 3-2 in the series.


Moments before Perron snuck the puck past netminder Tuukka Rask, Blues center Tyler Bozak cut Bruins forward Noel Acciari’s legs out from under him, sending Acciari to the deck. No penalty was called, play continued, and Acciari did not stand back up until Perron scored.

What should have given the Bruins an opportunity to push for an equalizer with a man-up advantage resulted in a momentum-shifting score that gave the Blues a 2-0 lead and severely hampered Boston’s ability to mount a comeback.

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“That call — there’s time — but it really made it difficult for us to get the win tonight,’’ Cassidy said. “I’m disappointed.’’

“It’s a missed call on the biggest stage of hockey right now,’’ added Acciari, who was checked out for a concussion. “I don’t know what else I can say about it.’’

The controversial sequence prompted a number of fans at TD Garden to throw their yellow rally towels, among other things, onto the ice. When the public address announcer asked that attendees refrain from doing so, his request was met with resounding boos.

But Bozak’s apparent slew-foot penalty was hardly the only questionable decision of the night.


In the first period, Blues forward Ivan Barbashev’s shoulder clipped Bruins forward Marcus Johansson in the chin after Johansson fired a shot toward netminder Jordan Binnington. The blow lifted Johansson in the air, as he spun 180 degrees before hitting the ice. Johansson stayed down for a few moments before completing his shift. No penalty was called on the play.

In the second period, Blues forward Zach Sanford levied another hit that looked high on Bruins defenseman Torey Krug. While fighting for the puck, Sanford checked Krug and appeared to make contact with his head. Again, no penalty was called. Later in the second, Krug was on the receiving end of another potential non-call when he was tangled up with Blues center Oskar Sundqvist, who clearly held Krug in front of Boston’s goal. No penalty there, either.

“Any time it leads to a scoring chance for the opposition, it has to be called,’’ said Krug, who said Sundqvist should have been whistled for holding late in the second.

Both Cassidy and Krug agreed that the tenor of the series’ officiating has changed since Blues coach Craig Berube criticized the referees after Game 3. Following another game in which his team struggled to stay out of the box, Berube voiced that he disagreed with a number of the calls. Throughout the series, Berube has consistently reiterated that the Blues were “the least penalized team’’ heading into the Stanley Cup Final.


“The narrative changed after Game 3,’’ Cassidy said. “There was a complaint or whatever put forth by the opposition. It just seems to have changed everything.’’

Berube did not have any interest in addressing Cassidy’s remarks.

“We play a hard game,’’ he said. “We’re a physical team. We forecheck hard. I’ll say it again. We were the least penalized team in the playoffs. End of story. I don’t want to talk anymore about it.’’

Cassidy said he never received an explanation for the non-call on Acciari, although he noted he was not expecting one.

Via a pool reporter, NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom released the following statement after the game: “We don’t make comments on judgment calls within games. There are hundreds of judgment calls in every game. The official on the play, he viewed it and he didn’t view it as a penalty at the time.’’

Though he and his teammates expressed their displeasure with the non-call, Acciari made it clear where their focus needs to be moving forward.

“It’s behind us now,’’ he said. “It’s tough, yeah. It’s a tough pill to swallow. But we’re onto Game 6. It’s a must-win from here on out.’’